I fell in love again at 3:15am Saturday morning with a 7 pound 5 ounce baby boy we named Judah. This is our fourth child and each time I am more and more amazed at my wife ... her strength during child birth is astonishing and after going through nearly 24 hours of labor, the look on her face when she holds our baby for the first time is unmatched. A few hours after she gave birth to Judah I shared with her that, even though she was in pain, even though she was exhausted, there was a glow about her during the entire process. My wife is absolutely beautiful, but there is a different type of beauty that exudes from her during labor. It's difficult to explain, but I've noticed it with all 4 of our children. Her focus, her strength, her excitement, her determination all create a special glow that adds to her beauty. I am truly amazed by her.
My wife and I take naming our children very seriously. We pray over the names we choose, asking God to lead us to a name with a meaning that He would like for us to pray over our children for the rest of our lives. You can read about why we chose the names of our first 3 children right here. Each name has a pretty cool story behind it. Here is why we chose the name "Judah." I have to set it up a bit, so here we go ...
The Bible talks about one of the "patriarchs" of the nation of Israel named Jacob. Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. God eventually changed his name to Israel, which you can read about in Genesis 35. Anyway, Jacob fell in love with a girl named Rachel (Genesis 29) and was willing to work 7 years for the right to marry Rachel. After working those 7 years, he thought he was marrying Rachel, but Rachel's father tricked Jacob in to marrying Rachel's sister, Leah. The Bible describes Leah and Rachel this way: "There was no sparkle in Leah's eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and lovely face." (Genesis 29:17). In other words, Rachel was the popular one and Leah was the girl no one wanted, the one that was hardly ever noticed.
Jacob was eventually given the right to marry Rachel and the Bible says "he loved her much more than Leah." (Genesis 29:30). But, God noticed Leah when no one else would and loved her even though her husband didn't. But, it took Leah quite a while to realize this. When Jacob and Leah started having children together, this is how the Bible describes what happened: "When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. So, Leah become pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, 'The LORD has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.' She soon become pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She name him Simeon, for she said, 'The LORD heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.' Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. She named him Levi, for she said, 'Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!' Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, 'Now I will praise the LORD!' And then she stopped having children." (Genesis 29:31 - 35)
Leah's heart longed to be loved and, for a long time she seemed to be seeking identity in her husband, almost as if to say "If I keep having sons, he'll eventually love me. When he loves me, I'll be happy." But, what she found was that the more she tried to find her identity in a person or in her abilities or what she could provide, the emptier she felt. I don't know what happened in her life between son number 3 and son number 4, but I bet she got to a point in her life that many of us do in our lives ... the point when we realize what we think would "work" for us is not working ... the thing we thought would make us happy, the thing we thought would bring us fulfillment and purpose ... well ... is not. It's then she cried out to God. For some reason she finally came to grasp the love that God had for her and stopped trying so hard to find identity and purpose in someone else. She began to find it in God. And, when she did, she was able to say "This time I will praise the LORD!" There was nothing about hoping for her husband's love ... nothing about grief or misery ... nothing about feeling unloved. With her fourth child it was simply "This time I will praise the LORD!" So, she named him Judah.
So, for our fourth child, we chose the name Judah because our prayer for him will be that he points people to finding their identity and their purpose not in what they do, not in their abilities, not in another person, but in a relationship with a God who loves them unconditionally. We will pray that his life is a life lived in that way and that he will show the lovely and unlovely alike, that purpose and meaning is not found in life itself, but rather in the Creator of life Himself.
Anyway, it's been just over 2 days and I'm already madly in love with the little guy ... and so is everyone else in the family. Took some pics of the kids meeting him for the first time. Check 'em out below.
We've felt incredibly loved by everyone and have had many visitors come to meet Judah too. I love how each person that comes to visit prays for him. He's being covered in prayer already! This is our small group meeting him for the first time. By the way, our small group takes seriously the "be fruitful and multiply" command in the Bible. Two babies under 3 months old and one on the way in September. We're a very fertile group!
This is my wife and I getting ready to head home with Judah. Room 311 is where he was born.
Thanks for the support and the continued prayers for Judah and the rest of our family!